CEO message: June

Last week we celebrated Refugee Week (18 – 24 June), reflecting on this year’s theme of “Finding Freedom”. The week, and in particular World Refugee Day (held annually on 20 June), is an important opportunity to raise greater public awareness of refugee experiences and journeys, the challenges they face, and the valuable contributions that refugees make to our community here in Australia.  

The annual Victorian Refugee Awards 2023, hosted by the Victorian Multicultural Commission last week celebrated the remarkable achievements of Victorians who journeyed to Australia as refugees or asylum seekers. Congratulations to all of the 2023 Victorian Refugee Award winners, including inspiring Victoria University student Athraa Yousif who won the Young Leader Award.  

One of newest Shout Out speakers, Mamuch Chuol, is a young South Sudanese leader, student and athlete who is dedicated to creating a brighter future for his community. He arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2007, has overcome significant adversity and uses his experiences as a catalyst for positive change. Reflecting on this year’s Refugee Week theme of “Finding Freedom”, Mamuch shared with us what it means to him: 

“Finding freedom means taking charge of your life, and since coming to Australia, I’ve discovered the power to do just that. It’s a country that provides opportunities and empowers individuals to pursue their dreams, making every day a chance to create my own path. Especially coming from a refugee background, I never thought any of this would be possible, but Australia has proven that resilience and determination can lead to extraordinary outcomes.” 

– Mamuch Chuol

I encourage you to check out CMY’s new line-up of Shout Out speakers here, who all have amazing stories to tell, and book them for your next event.  

Last week I attended the CMSport & Vicsport sold-out forum, Engaging Multicultural Women and Girls in Sport, and was honoured to be a keynote speaker at the inaugural Multicultural Women in Sport Gala Dinner, hosted by Melbourne United. Both events explored how cross-sector collaborations can break down the systemic barriers women from multicultural backgrounds often face accessing sport; and celebrating those who have played a pivotal role in breaking down these barriers.  

NAIDOC Week is coming up on 2 – 9 July, an important time to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. You can find out more about events happening in Victoria here and nationally here. Many of our staff who elected to work on 26 January will take an alternate public holiday in NAIDOC Week, and use this opportunity to attend the Victorian NAIDOC Week march on Friday 7 July in support of our First Nations communities.